This Disney Star Like You've Never Seen Her

It is a grand tradition in the history of Disney stars to eventually branch out into something sexier or darker — often both. For Aly Michalka's starring role in Sequoia , that would be the latter. With some genuine indie charm thrown in for good measure.

In the last couple of years Michalka's most well-known roles — in The CW's cancelled cheerleading show Hellcats and as Emma Stone's best friend in Easy A — have not actually been Disney ones, but Sequoia's likely to separate her from the creative choices of her youth even further.

Set to premiere at SXSW, Sequoia follows Michalka as a young woman with stage three osteosarcoma determined to commit suicide on a trip to Sequoia National Park. It also stars Joey Lauren Adams, Lou Diamond Phillips, Demetri Martin, Todd Lowe, and Dustin Milligan. And I don't know about you, but the trailer won me over — it looks like it could stand out like maudlin comedies about suicide like Wristcutters: A Love Story (but perhaps less gimicky), and perhaps it will treat the subject matter with the care and perspective that it deserves.

Overall it seems like a good place for Michalka to show off her acting chops — she's not that girl from CowBells anymore.

Image: Honora Productions